Managing Psychological and Social Aspects of Rosacea
Even though you may find your self-confidence and self-esteem are suffering as a result of your appearance, you can turn the situation around by taking appropriate action to bring your rosacea symptoms under control.
The first step is to accept that you have a medical condition, rather than denying it. Although rosacea is not life threatening, it is a chronic disorder with flare-ups and remissions. Although this fact cannot be changed, you can personally take control of your condition and restore your appearance by complying with long-term medical therapy and avoiding those lifestyle factors that aggravate your individual case.
In NRS surveys, 90 percent of rosacea patients said rosacea’s effect on personal appearance had lowered their self-esteem and self-confidence, and 52 percent said they had avoided face-to-face contact because of the disorder. Among those with severe symptoms, 51 percent said they had even missed work because of their condition.
The good news is that emotional health is generally restored when rosacea symptoms are successfully addressed. Seventy percent of rosacea sufferers responding to an NRS survey said their emotional well-being improved when their rosacea was effectively treated, and most also reported improvement in their professional interactions and social lives.
It also may help you to know that you are not alone. It’s estimated that more than 16 million Americans suffer from rosacea, although many may not be fortunate enough to realize it and seek treatment.
If you find yourself the subject of stares or comments during a flare-up, try turning this awkward situation into a positive educational opportunity by openly discussing your condition. Recognize that most people are unaware of rosacea, so take into account that most reactions are simply caused by curiosity and ignorance, rather than any negative intent.
Take the initiative to explain the condition to people you see regularly – especially your employer and co-workers, who may have real concerns about whether the condition will affect your job performance or their own health. Put to rest the common misconceptions that rosacea’s symptoms are caused by poor hygiene or excessive drinking, or that the disorder may be contagious. Pass along educational materials on rosacea if appropriate.
Through this approach, you can transform potentially negative situations into constructive opportunities to create understanding and even help others who may unknowingly suffer from this condition.
It’s important to take care of your mental health after being diagnosed with rosacea. This might mean sharing that you have the condition with family, friends and co-workers, and working to raise awareness. Join the rosacea community by becoming a member of the NRS or an online support group, and help fight the feelings of isolation so common among rosacea patients.